Quote Originally Posted by Economica View Post
Hey Santtu, did my post #22 drown in the following posts...?
No it did not. I wrote a response and got worried over the length of it, so I saved it for editing.

Quote Originally Posted by Economica View Post
It was no strawman (though I do apologize for my facetiousness); I was arguing that the value of the information is generally impossible for third parties to ascertain.

Returning to your business plan example, exactly how do you propose to get a neutral third party to correctly valuate the flaw you have found and wish to sell to management?
Hmm, I think I now see the weakness of my position. Third party is often taken to mediate and to supervise the process, but not in the role of evaluating the value. If it would be done, it would require much study into the two sides in question, perhaps the presence of a lawyer knowledgeable in contract law, and/or perhaps a business expert studying the issue, the company and interviewing the participants, and the writing of non-disclosure agreements on the top, perhaps.

On the other hand, there is a role that a third party could fullfill. There was a story on my local newspaper, with someone from the Chamber of Commerce complaining how many small business owners are tricked into "corporate fusions" and "collaborative projects" where the smaller business owner just shares their know-how, and the bigger defects. Some of these could be avoided with having people to be more educated about the risks involved. I don't think there's any final solution to be done any time soon, but some improvements would be possible, most of all in negating the risks involved.

If possible, the (legal) expert might be used in enforcing sanctions against the other party, if it uses the information without paying. This approach may not always be possible.

Other chance would be to set an agreed system and interpretation for it, where both could mutually agree on a set of standards. For example, "I'll show you a sub-group of demographics which has demonstratably increased intent to buy certain kind of consumables we manufacture. I'll announce the a) type of consumable and b) the sub-group upon payment. I have expert testimony that this accounts for approximately $100,000 of improved sales during this fiscal year, given the situation of our company, provided that same marketing effort is given to this group as well as your other main demographic groups. If you use this information, you may not increase your marketing expenses on this group this year, or increase the coverage of your existing marketing plans to this group, unless if you pay the information arbitrator $4000, and $6000 the employee who brought this issue to your attention."

Far-fetched but servers to illustrate. The expert would verify that the secret parts of the deal hold, and that the information meets the standard that is set in the binding contract.

I think that many kind of processes would have to be created to go through different kinds of "information sales". It would still be much more efficient to recognize people's contributions on the spot. THis could happen just inside one company. Upper management may have the ability to find out the things that are done well in the lower level, and could reward anyone showing actually good initiative (not something that can't be put to practice). So in this case it would just be needed to know more about the chain of command, not to use any special negotiation tactics.

My example was so contrived that I think I wouldn't be able to come up with solution to the first business scenario, as I think it's even much harder. My best bet would be to learn the fine line between these two situations: one where you've made a positive impression with unexpected use of intellectual skills, and one where you "over-impress" to the point of giving away for free.